The Alternative Vote system explained

Few people outside politics, myself included, understand the Alternative Vote system. Yet on 5 May we, the people of the UK, will decide whether to adopt it in our first national referendum since 1975.

I researched how it works. It took me ages. To save you the same pain, here is the simplest explanation that I could come up with.

The simplest example possible

The most familiar real-world example

So what changes?

The basic electoral system will not change - there will still be constituencies and each constituency will still elect a single MP.

What will change is the process. Instead of voting for your favourite candidate with an X, you will rank the candidates by preference (you can choose to leave some candidates out if you want to). And instead of the candidate with the most votes winning, the winning candidate must get more than 50% of votes. Which can lead to several rounds.

That’s the Alternative Vote system. Now you just have to decide if you like it…

I’d love to hear what you think about this on @myddelton.